Best Airline Credit Cards in India (2018)

By | May 16, 2018

There are different types of credit cards in travel space and here we’re looking at only Airline Miles related co-branded credit cards that are linked to Airline Loyalty programs. Currently there are only three Airlines in India that are linked to Indian Credit Cards with good Airmile redemption options.

Here are the Airlines and their Loyalty program names along with approx. value of each Mile/Point.

  • Jet Airways – JetPrivilege ( 1 JP Mile = 1 INR )
  • Air India – Flying Returns ( 1 AI Mile = 0.50 INR )
  • Air Vistara – Club Vistara ( 1 CV Point = 0.75 INR )

Note: The value of the Mile/Point totally depends upon your ability to redeem to maximum value. Above mentioned numbers works for me as of now. Now lets see some of India’s best Airline Credit cards and their approx. reward rates.

Best Airline Miles Co-branded Credit Cards

1. Axis Vistara Infinite

Axis Bank Vistara Infinite Credit Card

The newest airline in India has one of the best rewarding credit card in the Industry. This card gives upto 4 Business Class vouchers (1+3) based on your spends and the reward rate is as unbelievable as 15%. Though, you maynot be able to get that much value if you’re not sure how to use it.

It is also by far the easiest and fastest card to earn business class vouchers as Axis bank and Vistara has wonderful integration in place to post the points & vouchers to account faster.

Redemptions are super easy and you can check out my first redemption experience here: Vistara Business Class Review (MAA-DEL)

2. HDFC Diners Jet

JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Diners Club Credit Card

While there are many JetPrivilege Cards in the Industry, HDFC Diners Cards stands apart from the rest as you can earn tier points too on your regular spends apart from the JPMiles. This means you can get into Platinum status faster without actually flying.

Though, the only downside of this credit card is that its not a Visa or Mastercard but Diners Club itself and the Diners Club acceptance is not 100%. Hence you always need one backup card to be on safer side.

3. Amex Jet Privilege

Jet Airways American Express Platinum Credit Card

The specialty of the card is that, it gives access to the Proprietary American Express Lounge in Delhi. Along with it, you get the status symbol of owning the American Express Credit Card.

4. ICICI Jet Saphirro

ICICI Jet Sapphiro Credit card

Its again an American Express Credit Card issued by ICICI Bank. I personally use this card for international spends as it gives 7% earn rate, though it has upper cap and so its good for under 10L annual spend only.

5. SBI Air India Signature

SBI Air India Signature

No one is actually interested in flying Air India isn’t it? Well, this card gets you access to other Star Alliance Alirline partner as well, like Thai Airways & Singapore Airlines, which makes it worth giving a try.

Fortunately, even Air India has decent product as i flew on one of their Dreamliner recently. Check out my first flight on: Air India 787 Dreamliner Business Class (MAA-SIN)

6. HDFC Jet World/Signature

HDFC Bank Jet Privilege World Credit Card

Its not really a great card to start with, but its probably the only Jet Airways card that you can get it for free. I personally got this card when they had unlimited domestic lounge access benefit (now reduced to 4/qtr).

Note: Voucher Redemptions of Jet Cards are one of the toughest and you need to plan a month in advance to increase chances. Miles redemptions are bit tough as well and you need to call & email for confirmation to redeem your miles. Check out my first flight experience here: Jet Airways Domestic Business Class Review (BOM-CJB)

Bottomline

Airline credit cards are primarily useful for business class redemptions and are strictly only for the frequent flyers with a specific airline. The business of Airmiles & loyalty program exists because a lot of us don’t actually use them. I knew a well educated friend of mine who had thousands of JPMiles years back but never used it and now he has few hundreds left.

Other deciding factor is the connectivity, especially with Vistara. There is no point in getting Vistara cards if you don’t have connectivity from your flying city. Hence, choose the card based on your frequency of travel, spend pattern & connectivity.

If you travel less frequently, with multiple airlines, you should rather look for reward points related travel credit cards. Check out best travel credit cards in India for more info.

Which Airline Co-branded credit card do you use and how are you making maximum value out of it? Feel free to share your experiences in comments below.

13 thoughts on “Best Airline Credit Cards in India (2018)

  1. Shivi

    .@ Sid – Heads up at Number # 5 -SBI Air India Signature card reward points. It should be Air India miles and not “JPMiles” Earn Rate: 5% (easy)– 10%(rare)!

    Reply
  2. Guru

    Sid, Thanks for sharing the list. I use both HDFC and ICICI JetPrivilege CC extensively. The JP Miles get credited faster for HDFC as compared to ICICI in your JP account. Installing JetPrivilege Scout extension in Chrome will help you earn additional JP Miles on several affiliated shopping websites.

    Cheers,
    Guru

    Reply
  3. Maulin N Tolia

    Hi Siddharth,
    How did you calculate 1 JP mile = 1 Rs?

    In my calculations, I am getting 1 JP mile = 0.4, 0.3, 0.25 etc by comparing the miles required & the actual price of some common flights. (Chennai – Mumbai, Chennai – Delhi, Mumbai – Delhi etc)
    Then if we redeem it for Amazon vouchers we get 1 JP mile = 0.25 Rs.

    Would like to know if I am correct in the way I calculate.

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      I primarily refer to Business class redemptions when it comes to Airmiles.

      Reply
  4. ajay

    why no mention of Citi Premier Miles ? you gave 4.5 rating for same.

    Reply
  5. Ravi

    Hi Sid, Can you specify which credit/debit cards today offer highest free complimentary lounge visits on the Visa lounge network/domestic lounges in India?

    Reply
    1. Sharathkumar Anbu

      IMHO SC Emirates is not an useful card. Let me show how

      Emirates world credit card gives 3 Skyward Miles on every INR 150 spent on all other transactions (Spends apart from booking flight tickets with Emirates)

      Assuming that Air Miles gives higher benefits in Business class, I am considering a business class flight ticket from Chennai to Dubai in Emirates

      For a ticket in business class, You would need 52500 Skywards Miles for booking award ticket in business class

      Revenue ticket for business class from Chennai to Dubai cost 80K.

      Fare breakdown:

      Fare INR Indian Rupees 48,760
      Carrier-imposed charges INR Indian Rupees 21,765
      Taxes and fees INR Indian Rupees 9,134

      Note: Skywards Miles can be redeemed for the base ticket fare, excluding carrier imposed charges, taxes and fees.

      Hence to book a award ticket using skyward miles from Chennai to Dubai cost you 52500 Skyward miles + 30,899 Rupees (For carrier imposed charges and taxes & fees)

      Also to earn 52,500 Skyward miles, You need to spend Rs. 26,25,000.

      Whereas in Jet Airways, Award ticket from Mumbai to Dubai needs only 30K miles + 5000 Rupees.

      Highest earning rate for jet airways cards is 8 JP Miles / Rs. 150.

      With the highest earning rate, if you spend 5,62,500 Rupees, You will get 30K JP Miles and if you spend 5000 rupees you will get a business class ticket from Mumbai to Dubai.

      So you can compare which is better and you can understand how bad the Emirates card too

      Reply
      1. Siddharth Post author

        Thanks for sharing your views with nice example! Hope many finds it useful.

        Reply

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